Fantasy baseball: The Post’s overrated-underrated team

The fantasy drafts are over, but your work is far from done.

It’s time to see if your gamble on that under-the-radar outfielder you selected three rounds above his average draft position pays off. It’s time to see if that veteran pitcher you entrusted with a key spot in your rotation has one more stellar season left in his aging arm. Will that late-round sleeper have the breakout you were hoping for, or will he just become another name added to the waiver wire?

It’s time to get those answers. It’s time to play ball.

But before the season starts, it’s time for Roto Rage’s eighth annual Overrated/Underrated Fantasy Team. Here’s a look at this year’s squad:

first base

Overrated: Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles

Enters the season widely believed to be a top-10 fantasy first baseman, yet he finished 2021 with the 17th-worst strikeout rate (27.5 percent), the 15th-worst on-base percentage (.309) and second-lowest walk rate ( 7 percent) among qualified players at his position. Though Mountcastle proved he has power (33 homers), it’s hard to believe he will duplicate that performance — especially since 22 of those bombs came at Camden Yards where they just moved the fences back 30 feet. Take all of that and mix that with a mediocre supporting cast, and you are stuck with a player almost solely dependent on power production. No thanks.

Trevor Story and Charlie Morton are both part of The Post’s Jarad Wilk’s overrated-underrated team.
AP; Getty Images

Underrated: CJ Cron, Rockies

After a lackluster first half (.254, 12 HR, 35 RBIs, .833 OPS), he finished with a strong second half (.307, 16 HR, 57 RBI, .974). There’s also the Coors Field factor, where he hit .326 with 19 homers, 68 RBIs and a 1,073 OPS.

2nd base

Overrated: Brandon Lowe, Rays

Being drafted as the fifth-best second baseman was a stretch, especially since he offers little in stolen bases and is a career .222 hitter with a near 36 percent strikeout rate against lefties. Power is good, but there was plenty of that to be found throughout drafts.

Underrated: Brendan Rodgers, Rockies

He’ll play every day, has 20-plus homer potential and multiple position eligibility. His road numbers (.289, 12 HR, 30 RBIs, 25 R, .873 OPS in 51 games) were better than those at home (.280, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 24 R, .723 OPS in 51 games), so this is not a Coors Field-based decision.

Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers
AP

short stop

Overrated: Trevor Story, Red Sox

While with the Rockies, he was a .241 hitter with a .752 OPS in 370 road games while hitting .303 with a .972 OPS in 375 games at Coors Field. Enough said.

Underrated: J. P. Crawford, Mariners

Double-digit homer and stolen-base potential, finished in the top 40 in runs last year and should be the leadoff hitter for an improved lineup.

3rd baseman

Overrated: Adalberto Mondesi, Royals

Primarily a shortstop, he’s eligible at third base. Doesn’t make a difference. He has played more than 75 games in a season eleven in his six-year career.

Adalberto Mondesi
Adalberto Mondesi
AP

Underrated: Jeimer Candelario, Tigers

Tied for league-lead in doubles while hitting .271 with 16 homers, 67 RBIs, 75 runs scored in 2021. Hit .282 with 11 homers, 43 RBIs and a .882 OPS in the second half. An improved lineup could help with a potential breakout.

Catcher

Overrated: JT Realmuto, Phillies

Did you know his batting average has declined every year since hitting .303 in 2016, while his strikeout rate has gone up? Well, now you know.

Underrated: Austin Nola, Parents

Injuries are to blame for a disappointing 2021, but the universal DH should help keep him on the field.

Outfield

Overrated: Byron Buxton, Twins

Having all the talent in the world means little when you can’t stay healthy.

Underrated: Bryan ReynoldsPirates

Among NL hitters, he ranked sixth in OPS, seventh in average, ninth in walk rate, 12th in runs and 15th in RBIs. He also hit 24 homers and had the 22nd-lowest strikeout rate.

Bryan Reynolds
Bryan Reynolds
AP

starting pitcher

Overrated: Robbie Ray, Mariners

Not only did he allow a ton of hard contact and 33 homers, he had a 3.69 FIP. He also has a career 4.00 ERA. Expect the southpaw to come back down to earth after his Cy Young campaign in 2021.

Underrated: Charlie Morton, Braves

Yes, he’s 38 but he was 61-24 with a 3.34 ERA, 10.6 strikeouts per nine (11th-best in the majors) and a 1.13 WHIP from 2017-21. He’s also armed with one of the best curveballs in the game, limiting opponents to a .127 average and 40 percent whiff rate (127 Ks) last year. The broken fibula he suffered in the World Series last year is nothing to be concerned with.

relief pitcher

Overrated: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees

The flame-throwing closer had the second-highest strikeouts per nine (15.5) among hurlers with a minimum of 50 innings pitched, but he had the fifth-highest walks per nine (6.07), and his xERA (3.87) and FIP (3.99 ) were quite higher than his ERA (3.36). Not a good sign.

Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman
AP

Underrated: David BednarPirates

Struck out 32.5 percent of the batters he faced while maintaining a 2.23 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over 60 ²/₃ innings.

Rankings

first base

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Tor
  2. Freddie Freeman, LAD
  3. Matt Olson, Atl
  4. Pete Alonso, NYM
  5. Paul Goldschmidt, Stl

2nd base

  1. Trea Turner, LAD
  2. Ozzie Albies, Atl
  3. Marcus Semien, Tex.
  4. Whit Merrifield, KC
  5. Ketel Mars, Ari

short stop

  1. Trea Turner, LAD
  2. Bo Bichette, Tor
  3. Xander BogaertsBos
  4. Tim Anderson, CWS
  5. Francisco Lindor, NYM

3rd baseman

  1. Jose Ramirez, Cle
  2. Rafael Devers, Bos
  3. Manny Machado, S.D.
  4. Wander Franco, T.B.
  5. Kris Bryant, Cole

Catcher

  1. Salvador Perez, K.C.
  2. Will Smith, L.A.D.
  3. Yasmani Grandal, CWS
  4. Willson Contreras, CHC
  5. JT Realmuto, Phi

Outfielders

  1. Juan Soto, Was
  2. Ronald Acuna, Atl
  3. Bryce Harper, Phi
  4. Kyle Tucker, Hou
  5. Mookie Betts, LAD

starting pitchers

  1. Corbin Burnes, Mil
  2. Gerrit Cole, NYY
  3. Max Scherzer, NYM
  4. Walker Buehler, LAD
  5. Brandon Woodruff, Mil

relief pitchers

  1. Josh Hader, Mil
  2. Liam Hendriks, CWS
  3. Raisel Igelesias, LAA
  4. Emmanuel Class, Cle
  5. Ryan Pressly, Hou

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